The DC-metro region faces a critical shortage of high school math and science teachers who are prepared to teach disciplinary practices as envisioned in the Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This project addressed that shortage by conducting research and developing curriculum focused on pathways to teaching for STEM professionals and majors. The central purpose of the work was to target and develop opportunities in and out of school settings where these unique candidates could leverage their deep disciplinary knowledge as they recognize and facilitate the learning of math and science core ideas and practices. The project's work was positioned to have long-term impact on:
- The number of DC-area STEM professionals and STEM majors preparing for careers in math and science teaching.
- The alignment among teacher preparation coursework, field experiences, and DCPS standards for science and math education.
- Collaboration among GW STEM and education faculty, local educational organizations, and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).
Curriculum Products and Tools - The project produced several curriculum innovations and program support tools for the Master's Program in Secondary Education including: A new course on Integrating Engineering in the Math and Science Classroom; enhancements to Perspective and Research on Teaching Math and Science: A Focus on Modeling in Mathematics and Teaching Science in Secondary Schools featuring doing math and doing science with math and science faculty; training and support for a museum-based pre-service teaching practicum; an alumni database and tracking survey to support recruiting, internships and mentoring; and, an induction year mentoring and support plan.
Research - A research component of the project explored the affordances of having candidates work collaboratively on math and science problems with faculty from math, science, and STEM education. These doing math and doing science experiences were planned to: (a) focus on an opening question or problem set, (b) include a range of pre-planned and spontaneous discussions, activities, mini lessons, and (c) provide opportunities for reflection over a period of ~20 hours (Duckworth, 2001; van Zee, Hammer, Bell, Roy, & Peter, 2005). Teacher candidates did science in the "methods" course and did mathematics in a course on perspectives and research. The experiences provided an anchor for developing ideas about the nature of math and science practices and served as "touchstone experiences" (Wiggins, 1998). The work represents a shared model for reflecting on science and math teaching that is engaging, authentic to the work of scientists and mathematicians, and responsive to the thinking of the teacher candidates.